NY Times magazine article - Capsized

This was in the NY Times magazine yesterday - a really aggravating story of some pretty clueless paddlers saved from death in spite of their best (worst?) efforts to embrace it. They managed to do just about everything wrong - I just wish they had admitted as much a little more clearly.


oh God these kinds of articles ,grrrrrr
Local paper had a similar article from a couple who were out in their tandem in the Chesapeake in February. The fog came up and they were totally lost, found a channel marker and held onto it. The author says “with only 40degree water beneath our seats…in 8yrs we’d never capsized our stable fiberglass double” then he proceeds to compare their dilemma with a capsized fishing boat the month before that killed three people. As though their dumbass recreational adventure was equivalent to people pursuing a livelyhood on the water.

Jesus effing kerist,“We spotted an island maybe 100 yards away. Abandoning the kayaks was risky, but it seemed so close. I saw no choice but to make a jump for it.”

IN 47degree Maine water in November. No knowledge of rescues, no knowledge of a basic rescue that would drain the kayak before she gets back in and a rescuer who loses his paddle.

If Marty is the analytical one she’s really screwed.

here’s the website of the author.



A contributing editor and correspondent for The Atlantic, Ellen Ruppel Shell has covered the intersection of science, technology, culture and commerce for print, on-line and broacast here and abroad

Maybe They Can "Buy…"
a clue… LOL! Nothing like reading about the adventures of the rich and (in)famous… :frowning:


check the other thread
Check the thread on the discussion board. It goes beyond failing to do so much as check a forecast before kayaking in coastal Maine in November.

Yeah, the Discussion Forum is a great
place for handling such issues.

School is the solution
I live a mile south of canada on the st lawrence river and kayak with canadians out of brockville,ont. They tell me of high school outdoor rec classes where they learned survival skills such as how to get back into a canoe or how to survive a night in the woods. Here in the US we might have a class that teaches home survival such as how to cook or how to patch sheetrock or how to change a tire. Some countries are more outdoorsy than us. They XC ski 4 miles to catch the bus to school and then at age 18 they beat me in a kayak race.

Kayak classes are expensive partly because of insurance. What if someone gets hurt trying to wet exit? About 60% to 70% of the worlds lawyers are here in the US and they often make a living by suing someone. My former pastor from Canada talked to me about the man at Mcdonalds who collected millions from hot coffee spilt on him. In Canada, he might have recieved 2 grand.

I love America and am loyal to America. There are things we need to do better such as to demand torte reform. YEah right!!! laws are made by lawyers who sue the city hospital on behalf of heroin addicts who have a messed up baby.

wow, new yorkers in maine paddling sans clue? who’d a thunk it?

probably just didn’t fit in the benzo wagon on the way up.

total kook… nm


– Last Updated: Jan-26-10 12:15 AM EST –

I'm a New Yorker and I have a clue - I even took some lessons in Maine one summer, go figure. In fact, there's a robust and knowledgeable paddling culture in New York City, so maybe give the stereotype a rest. There are knucklehead paddlers everywhere and we all know it. And if you think only rich people live in NYC, then maybe you should come paddle with me in the Bronx, unless you're afraid, of course, Neener - neener!

But enough of this palaver, g2d says we can't talk about this subject in this forum, so I guess I should just erase the whole thread. Of course, then he might think I was passive-aggressive, hmmm, I wonder what that's like?

BTW, Shell teaches at Boston U., so I guess she lives in MA - isn't that somewhere up your way?

I’ll spell it out
See, g2d, you didn’t perceive my intent - this thread is right on point, to whit:

I’m SUGGESTing that people read this article, then ADVISE their friends that responsible paddlers don’t behave this way, which will be a GENERAL HELP to the paddling community.

I think that covers the bases.

you aren’t being passive
aggressive…just aggressive.

i’m sure that there are competent paddlers in ny and i’m not indicting any of them but if you don’t think that the gentrification of some of those islands by ny’ers hasn’t, isn’t or doesn’t happen, then you are mistaken.

if you think too that i haven’t seen clueless knuckleheads on the water (and only SOME from NY)again, wrong.

so no, not an indictment of the NY paddler…just dumbass people that hop in boats and think they know N from S or up from down.

OK point taken
OK, I over-reacted - but you have to admit NYers are too often a target just because of the zip code - I know it’s all symbolic, really, and knuckleheads abound. It’s also true I’m tired of posters swooping in and depositing a “this is in the wrong forum” comment like a seagull pooping on a picnic then flying away - not a welcome or useful contribution. I’ll try to relax about it all.

Far from prepared…
Yea, these clowns were far from prepared. They weren’t even smart enough to put on a wet suit. I personally never venture out without a spare paddle.

The whole thing is just a mess.


Dumb Luck
Another example of unintentionally outwitting Darwin’s grand plan.

Why is everyone so upset about it?
The author very much admitted being dumb, unprepared and lucky. And was making fun of themselves. Basically, a “don’t do it like we did”!

I don’t know what everyone is reading into this. But it strikes me of some irrational fear that this self-deprecating article makes ALL kayakers look dumb in the eye of the non-kayaking world? Well, if that’s what you’re fearing, I got news for you. They think we’re dumb even when we come back WITHOUT incident!!!

No, it doesn’t. It just shows that you
have NO understanding of the guidelines for the various forums.

At the time you started this WASTEFUL thread, there was already a coherent and useful thread going on the PADDLERS DISCUSSION FORUM.

But you can just go on with your personal sense of entitlement, and your narcissistic desire for attention on a topic that really has nothing to do with you.

Have a nice day.

So true…
Most people who see us paddle during the winter months think were absolutely crazy. This is especially true when were breaking through ice just to reach open water. Hey, I don’t base jump or even paddle whitewater so I’d consider my activities conservative.

What upsets me is that I try to prepare and be as safe on the water as possible and these nit wits make a joke out of a potentially dangerous situation. It just sends a bad message for the whole community.



– Last Updated: Jan-26-10 6:04 PM EST –

I really don't care. It happens every year. Folks go out ignorant, unprepared, or thinking they are better shape or more skilled than they are. Most make it back, sometimes with some help. And, some just don't. Folks die in a lot of sports (okay maybe not chess, tillywinks, and the like).

With this couple, I was in awe of not only their cluelessness but the fact that they wrote about it and actually got in published in the NYT. But, maybe, it was on the Thursday "life style" section. My office mates and I get a laugh on Thursday lunches reading the inane schtuff in that section of the paper.


Fools, sages and the many folks in between die every day. Death is a part of life. Have a laugh while one's alive, I say.

g2d, don’t be an ass
if people had a problem with this thread, they wouldn’t reply

you didn’t overreact
rick_s said “wow, new yorkers in maine paddling sans clue? who’d a thunk?” you’re being too kind.